The Pueblo West View

District 70 backs state education tax

The Pueblo County District 70 school board unanimously approved a resolution of support for a state amendment designed to bring more money to public education on Tuesday night.

The board voted to support the state ballot initiative, Amendment 66 or the Commits to Kids campaign.

“This is one (amendment) that will definitely benefit District 70,” said Board President Lynette Masters. “It’s great we are endorsing it.”

The amendment, on the Nov. 5 ballot, seeks an increase in state personal income tax rates to pay for a new school funding system approved this spring by the Legislature.

Supporters of the amendment said it would generate a $950 million tax increase per year for the financially strapped public education system.

District 70 Superintendent Ed Smith said if the amendment is passed by state voters, it will result in about a $9 million increase in state dollars for the district.

District 70’s employee union, the Pueblo County Education Association, also has endorsed the amendment.

PCEA members helped gather signatures on petitions to get the initiative on the ballot.

Association members are currently involved in providing information and seeking voter support for the amendment.

In an unrelated matter, the board received a brief update on the progress of the district’s $59.5 million bond projects.

Monte Montez, construction manager for the district, told board members the majority of the first-phase projects have been completed or are in the final completion stage.

The majority of those projects included constructing secured front entrances at school buildings, restroom renovation and redoing the track and football fields at the three high schools.

“Things are looking really good,” Montez said. “We keep moving forward.”

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